Beryllium is a metal used in many industries, most notably the aerospace industry. The inhalation of beryllium dust or vapors at work can cause disease in susceptible individuals. The effects usually develop slowly, often over years after contact with beryllium has stopped.

Chronic beryllium disease is inflammation (with a granulomatous reaction) and scarring of the lung tissue. Symptoms include increasing shortness of breath, dry cough, fatigue, weight loss and chest pain.

How is berylliosis treated?

Chronic beryllium disease can damage the lungs, leading to death. Cleveland Clinic pulmonologists with a special interest in chronic beryllium disease are conducting two clinical trials with funding from the Department of Energy.